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In the Old Testament, the Kingdom of Judah is the state formed from the territories of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin after the Kingdom of Israel was divided. It is often called the Southern Kingdom to distinguish it from the Northern Kingdom which as the Kingdom of Israel after the split. Its capital was Jerusalem. See History of ancient Israel and Judah.
When the disruption took place at Shechem, at first only the tribe of Judah followed the house of David. But very soon after the tribe of Benjamin joined the tribe of Judah, and Jerusalem became the capital of the new kingdom (Joshua 18:28), which was called the kingdom of Judah.
For the first sixty years the kings of Judah aimed at re-establishing their authority over the kingdom of the other ten tribes, so that there was a state of perpetual war between them. For the next eighty years there was no open war between them. For the most part they were in friendly alliance, co-operating against their common enemies, especially against Damascus. For about another century and a half Judah had a somewhat checkered existence after the termination of the kingdom of Israel till its final overthrow in the destruction of the temple (586 BC) by Nebuzar-adan, who was captain of Nebuchadnezzar's body-guard (2 Kings 25:8-21).
The kingdom maintained a separate existence for three hundred and eighty-nine years. It occupied an area of 8,900 km2 (3,435 square miles).
The kings of Judah
For this period, most historians follow either the chronology established by William F. Albright or Edwin R. Thiele, both of which are shown below. (Albright's dates are in bold while Thiele's are in italics.) All dates are BC/BCE.
- 922 931 - 915 913 Rehoboam
- 915 913 - 913 911 Abijam
- 913 911 - 873 870 Asa
- 873 870 - 849 848 Jehoshaphat
- 849 848 - 842 841 Jehoram
- 842 841 - 842 841 Ahaziah
- 842 841 - 837 835 (Queen Mother, wife of Jehoram) Athaliah
- 837 835 - 800 796 Jehoash (Joash, son of Ahaziah).
- 800 796 - 783 767 Amaziah
- 783 767 - 742 740 Uzziah
Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III records he received tribute from Ahaz; this event is mentioned in 2 Kings 16:7-9.
Sennacherib of Assyria, and king Merodach-baladan of Babylonia. There is some question whether these kings can provide a reliable synchronism for his reign: Al-Biruni and Bar-Hebraeus mention a "King Sennacherib the Less" as well. Furthermore, there was another king named Merodakh Baladan ben Baladan, also known as Mardokempad. (Ptolemy assumed, without any reason, that Mordac Empadus was contemporary with King Hezekiah.) These two Baladans remained pretenders during Sennacherib's reign, therefore it is not easy to identify their regnal years as Ptolemy attempted. According to Robert R. Newton (The Crime of Claudius Ptolemy, 1977), this ancient scholar frequently attributed some observations to certain years of some kings for the sake of simplicity in his tabulation, but those were not part of the original observations. Newton also asserts Ptolemy often arbitrarily fudged astronomical data in order to support his own theories.
Necho II of Egypt.
Battle of Carchemish occured in the fourth year of King Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 46:2).
- 598 598 Jehoiachin (Perhaps from March to May as 2 Chronicles 36:10 suggests.)
- 597 597 - 587 586 Zedekiah